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Sports

    Take away George Springer and Jose Altuve, and maybe the Houston Astros start to look a little more beatable. Maybe. The Boston Red Sox finally snapped Houston's 10-game winning streak Sunday with a 4-3 victory after Springer left the game with lower back stiffness. The Astros were already playing without Altuve, on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, but that injury did little to slow Houston. Even after Sunday's loss, the Astros have the best record and best run differential in the major leagues. They lead the AL West by 8 ½ games. Altuve hasn't played since May 10, so Houston's recent torrid stretch took place largely without him. That's a scary thought for the rest of the American League. In their first four games without their star second baseman, the Astros scored 45 runs against the Rangers and Tigers. 'Our guys are seeing the ball really well and making it tough on them,' Houston manager AJ Hinch said while the Astros were in Detroit. 'Driving the pitch counts through the roof.' The Astros lead the major leagues in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Springer and Alex Bregman are 1-2 in the AL in homers, and Springer is the league's RBI leader. Houston has four of the AL's top 10 hitters in OPS (Springer, Bregman, Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley) and three of the top six in batting average (Josh Reddick, Brantley and Springer). Players such as Robinson Chirinos and Jake Marisnick are contributing as well. 'We knew we had built an offense that was very deep and very long, and a lineup that was tough to get through,' Hinch said. 'In a long year, you're going to need contributions from everybody.' With a pitching staff that includes Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the Astros look as well-rounded as any team in the game. Even the bullpen is making news, with Ryan Pressly setting a record Friday with his 39th consecutive scoreless appearance. With a 10-game homestand starting Monday, Houston has a chance to turn the division race into a rout after winning it by six games last year and by 21 in 2017. Elsewhere around the majors: ANOTHER ACE? Starting pitching depth has been a strength for the Dodgers for a while, and it's been on full display this year. Clayton Kershaw's efforts (3-0 with a 3.40 ERA) have actually been overshadowed by what teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu is doing. Ryu is 6-1 with a 1.52 ERA, and he has a 31-inning shutout streak after pitching seven innings Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. HIGHLIGHT Like last year, Bryce Harper is combining an unimpressive batting average (.235) with very impressive power. Harper connected for a 466-foot home run in Philadelphia's 2-1 win over Colorado on Saturday. LINE OF THE WEEK Boston's Chris Sale struck out 17 against Colorado on Tuesday night, becoming the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many in a start of no more than seven innings. He gave up three hits in seven innings and left with a 3-2 lead, but the Rockies went on to win 5-4 in 11. Honorable mention: Kris Bryant of the Cubs hit three homers in a win at Washington on Friday night. Cleveland's Shane Bieber struck out 15 with no walks while shutting out Baltimore on Sunday. ___ Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Brooks Koepka should know as well as anyone that nothing in golf comes easily. His well-documented journey to the PGA Tour took him to remote outposts like Kenya and Kazakhstan. Even after Koepka won a second straight U.S. Open last summer, which no one had done in 29 years, it didn't seem enough to be the first name mentioned among the next generation of stars. So he spent three days setting records at Bethpage Black in the PGA Championship — the first player to shoot 63 in consecutive years in the majors, the lowest 36-hole score in major championship history and a seven-shot lead, the largest ever for 54 holes in the PGA Championship. And then he endured the toughest day of his career Sunday, which turned into the most rewarding. 'I'm glad I've got this thing sitting next to me,' Koepka said as he looked at the shiny Wanamaker Trophy. 'It's very satisfying, this one. This is definitely the most satisfying of all the ones I've won.' Moments earlier, after he turned a potential meltdown into the kind of clutch play that has defined his career, Koepka draped his muscular arms around the top of the trophy and let out a deep sigh from stress and satisfaction, and then he smiled. Koepka said at the start of the week that majors are sometimes the easiest to win. This one should have been. It wasn't. His seven-shot lead was down to one with four holes to play and the No. 1 player in the world — Dustin Johnson, his best friend in golf — was piecing together the best round of a final day in 25 mph gusts that made Bethpage Black as fearsome as ever. Koepka answered with all the right shots. Johnson faded with two bogeys. Koepka closed with a 4-over 74, the highest final round by a PGA champion in 15 years, and he didn't care how it looked. His place in history was secure. He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win back-to-back in the PGA Championship since it switched to stroke play in 1958. He became the only player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time. Four years ago, he had one PGA Tour title in his first full season as a full member. Now he has four majors out of the last eight he has played, a stretch not seen since Woods won seven out of 11 after capturing the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. 'I just don't understand why he doesn't do it more often,' said Rory McIlroy, who won his four majors in a span of 15. 'He obviously gets into these mindsets of the majors, and he really goes and gets into a different state. You'd obviously have to ask him. But it's awesome. It's great to watch.' Woods twice won back to back in the PGA Championship, with tight battles in 1999 and 2000, comfortable wins in 2006 and 2007. Koepka was starting to draw comparisons with Woods for the way he obliterated the competition at Bethpage Black, much like Woods used to do. In the end, there were no style points, only the trophy. But that trophy spoke volumes. Even louder was the gallery, and it wasn't always pretty. Koepka had a six-shot lead when he walked off the 11th fairway. When he walked up to the green on the par-3 14th, with his ball over the green and Koepka headed for a fourth straight birdie, the chants jarred him. They weren't for him. 'DJ! DJ! DJ!' the cheers rained down for Johnson, who was on his way to another birdie up ahead on the 15th hole to pull within one shot. Koepka says he was more shocked than he was nervous, but he heard them. 'It's New York. What do you expect when you're half-choking it away,' he said. 'I think I kind of deserved it. I've been to sporting events in New York. I know how it goes. I think it actually helped. It was at a perfect time because I was just thinking: 'OK, I've got everybody against me. Let's go.'' And off he went — a powerful drive down the 15th fairway that set up a par he desperately need, an even better drive down the 16th hole, the hardest at Bethpage Black during the final round because the wind was whipping into his face. That's where Johnson lost all momentum, without doing much wrong. He hit a 5-iron from 194 into the fan — he though about 4-iron because he wasn't sure 5-iron would get to the green — and was stunned when it one-hopped into the rough. He chipped to 7 feet and missed the par putt, and then went long on the par-3 17th, caught another nasty lie and made another bogey. 'I gave it a run,' Johnson said after his 69. 'That's all you can ask for.' It's more than Koepka would have wanted. But he has the trophy, the one that caused the most stress and brought the most satisfaction. No sooner was the PGA Championship over that Koepka was installed as a 5-1 favorite to win the U.S. Open. No one has won three straight U.S. Open titles since Willie Anderson in 1905. That might be all the motivation Koepka needs. ___ For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • A look at what's happening around the majors today: MANAGING EXPECTATIONS Mets manager Mickey Callaway is on the hot seat as his slumping team returns home to play NL East rival Washington. New York (20-25) has lost five straight and was swept in three games at lowly Miami over the weekend, totaling only three hits in consecutive shutouts. The listless Mets are 11-21 in their last 32 games. 'I respect the hell out of Mickey,' pitcher Noah Syndergaard said. 'It's certainly not on him.' VLAD AND VICTORIA Big-hitting rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays host Boston in an afternoon game on Victoria Day. The 20-year-old Guerrero has homered four times in his last six games — he didn't homer in the first 13 games after making his debut in late April. Red Sox lefty David Price (1-2, 3.75 ERA) is scheduled to come off the injured list and start. He has been sidelined with elbow tendinitis since May 3. ASTRO OUT AL home run leader George Springer has stiffness in his lower back and won't play when the Astros open a series at home against the White Sox. The outfielder made an early exit Sunday at Fenway Park when he felt tightness. Springer, who has 17 home runs, will be re-evaluated in Houston. REMEMBER ME? An All-Star for the Cubs when they won the 2016 World Series, Jake Arrieta (4-4, 4.02 ERA) starts at Wrigley Field for the Philadelphia Phillies. Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.14) pitches for Chicago in the opener of a four-game series between NL division leaders. SEVENTH HEAVEN Jake Odorizzi (6-2, 2.63 ERA) has won six straight starts for the AL Central-leading Twins, giving up a total of six earned runs during that span. Quite a reversal from his results early in the season, when he was wild and went 0-2 in his first three starts. Odorizzi will try to extend the streak when he pitches in Anaheim against the Angels. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Pascal Siakam felt guilty about a pair of missed free throws and the extra minutes they added to his teammates' night. Fortunately for Siakam and the rest of the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard didn't seem to feel any fatigue. Leonard scored 36 points, including eight in the second overtime, and Toronto beat Milwaukee 118-112 on Sunday night to cut the Bucks' lead in the Eastern Conference finals to 2-1. Leonard made 11 of 25 shots and went 12 for 13 at the free throw line in more than 52 minutes of action, a playoff career high. 'At the end of the game, Kawhi said he played an hour of basketball,' Siakam said. 'I told him 'My bad.'' Leonard had nine rebounds and five assists despite appearing to be bothered by some leg discomfort. He said he would keep fighting and playing. 'I mean, it's 52 minutes and it's in the playoffs, so you definitely feel it. When you play 30 minutes, you feel it still,' Leonard said. 'Just got to not worry about it, get my treatment and move on to the next one.' Leonard's previous career high in playoff minutes was 46, set with San Antonio against Miami in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 18, 2013. The Spurs lost that game in overtime, then lost Game 7 two days later. Siakam had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Norman Powell scored 19 points before fouling out, and Marc Gasol had 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Raptors will try to draw even when they host Game 4 on Tuesday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points and 23 rebounds before fouling out with 4:24 to go in the second overtime. Antetokounmpo shot 5 for 16. 'They were just playing better than us,' Antetokounmpo said. 'Whenever we got close, they'd hit some shots and take the lead back to seven or eight. At the end of the day, it wasn't our best game. We can get a lot better.' Toronto won despite guards Kyle Lowry and Powell both fouling out in the fourth quarter. Siakam also missed a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds left in regulation that could have iced the game for the Raptors. 'It's tough,' Siakam said. 'Those are shots that you practice and think about every day.' Siakam redeemed himself by blocking a potential tying shot by Brook Lopez with 43 seconds to go in the second overtime, leading to a layup for Leonard that put Toronto up 114-110 with just over 30 seconds to play. George Hill scored 24 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 20 for the Bucks, who lost for the first time in five road games this postseason. Milwaukee is 10-2 overall in the playoffs. 'We were right on the cusp of winning a game when we didn't play that well,' Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:26 to go in the first overtime but Hill tied it at 103 by making a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left. Toronto used its final timeout to draw up a play for Leonard, who let the clock run down to 3 seconds before driving for a jumper that missed, sending it to a second extra period. Hill's tiebreaking basket to begin the second overtime put Milwaukee up 105-103, its first lead since the opening basket of the game. Gasol answered with a 3 and Leonard finished a fast break with a left-handed dunk, putting Toronto up 108-105 with 3:13 left. Khris Middleton shot 3 for 16, but one of his baskets tied the score with 2.2 seconds to go in regulation. He finished with nine points. After suggesting Saturday that he might change his lineup, Raptors coach Nick Nurse stuck with his normal starters, but gave Powell 30 minutes, the most he's played in any game this postseason. 'We just played a lot tougher, man,' Nurse said. 'We were up guarding and we were physical and we were ready to play tonight.' Toronto fell behind 9-0 early in a blowout loss in Game 2, but turned that around in Game 3. After Antetokounmpo made a layup for the opening basket of the game, Siakam replied with a hook shot, Gasol followed with a 3 and the Raptors didn't trail again in regulation. Powell scored 10 points on five shots in the first, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Toronto led 30-21. Gasol, who had eight points in Games 1 and 2 combined, also made two from long range and scored eight in the first. 'After a tough Game 2 personally, you want to come out and get rid of the bad taste,' Gasol said. Gasol played with five fouls for part of the fourth quarter and the entire overtime. 'He's a big reason why they were able to win,' Budenholzer said. Leonard scored 11 points in the second and Lowry added eight, but Pat Connaughton made two of Milwaukee's five 3-pointers as the Bucks closed the gap. The Raptors led 58-51 at halftime. Toronto took a narrow 77-75 lead into the fourth. TIP-INS Bucks: Milwaukee made six turnovers in the first quarter, leading to 10 points for the Raptors. They finished with 20, leading to 21 points for Toronto. ... The Bucks shot 7 for 21 in the opening quarter. Five of their made baskets were 3-pointers. Raptors: Toronto's Danny Green missed his first eight shots before hitting a tiebreaking 3 to open the scoring in the first overtime. ... The Raptors recorded an assist on 17 of their first 18 baskets. ... Gasol had four assists in the first quarter. He finished with seven. ... Comedian Mike Myers attended the game. NO SHOT Antetokounmpo and Lopez each made five field goals, but no other Bucks starter had more than three. Milwaukee's starters shot 19 for 69, with Middleton and Bledsoe each going 3 for 16. 'Just one of those games,' Hill said. 'We're not worried about it.' AYE AYE EYE VanVleet needed stitches to close a cut below his left eye after he caught an elbow late in the game. END OF THE LINE Leonard entered having made 20 consecutive free throws. He made his first of the game but missed the second. Lowry holds the Raptors' playoff record for consecutive free throws, making 25 straight in 2014. UP NEXT Game 4 is Tuesday night in Toronto. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Lucas Bjerregaard (BEER'-gard) and playing partner Lucas Glover did the old 1-2 on No. 17 at Bethpage Black in the final round of the PGA Championship. Bjerregaard, a 27-year-old Dane, made the first hole-in-one in the tournament on Sunday, one-bouncing a 6-iron into the cup on the par-3 206-yard hole. Bjerregaard high-fived his caddie, waved to the crowd and then walked to the green. He pulled his ball out of the hole and tossed it into the crowd. He had played the hole at 2 over in the first three rounds. It was the 42nd hole-in-one in the PGA Championship since 1970 and the only one this year. Glover wasn't about to let Bjerregaard grab all the attention. He holed out from the bunker from 50 feet for a birdie, climbing out of the sand with a wide smile on his face. CONSOLATION PRIZE Luke List held it together after a triple bogey on the 11th hole, playing the final seven holes in 1 under for a 74. That gave him sixth place alone, and it was enough to move him 18 spots to No. 58 in the world ranking. That means List is exempt into the U.S. Open next month at Pebble Beach. Abraham Ancer of Mexico struggled on the back nine, but he did well enough at the start of the final round for a 71 to tie for 16th. While he missed by one shot an automatic return to the PGA Championship, he moved to No. 60 to get to Pebble Beach. The top 60 in the world in this week's ranking are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open. The U.S. Open also will take the top 60 in the world ranking published the week of the championship. BIG MOVER Rory McIlroy needed to birdie four of his final six holes in the second round to make the 144 cut. He finished at 143, tied for 57th. Over the final 36 holes, McIlroy shot two rounds of 1-under 69. His 1-over total gave him a score of 281 and a tie for eighth place. 'Yeah, stuck at it the whole way,' the two-time PGA winner said. 'Seventy-two-hole golf tournament and you've got to try till the very end, and I did that this week. You know, it wasn't good enough to be up there in contention but I made improvements each and every day, which is a good thing.' TAKING ADVANTAGE Being outside the top 100 players in the world ranking, South African Erik Van Rooyen needed a special invitation to get into the tournament. He made the most of it by finishing tied for eighth with a 1-over total. His top 15 finish earns him a spot in next year's event in San Francisco. Van Rooyen hardly was the only one to take advantage in his first PGA Championship. Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand also came up big. The 23-year-old saved par on the final hole by chipping from 60 feet for a tap-in par. It gave him a final-round 77 and a 2-over total, good for a tie for 14th place. Getting a spot in next year's PGA was news to Janewattananond, who wants to spend a few more years playing in Asia and on the European Tour before trying to make the PGA Tour. 'It was a good experience, a good learning curve,' he said. 'I need to go through that. You can't just come up first time in a major and finish top five, top three. I surprised myself early, but this is for the better. If I get things too easy, I might think everything is easy. Nothing is easy.' LOW CLUB PRO Rob Labritz of GlenArbor Golf Club in the New York City suburb of Bedford Hills was the low club pro in the PGA Championship. Labritz shot a final round 2-over 72 and finished with a total of 10 over. The top 20 finishers in the annual PGA Professional Championship qualify for the tournament. Three made the cut. Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska, finished at 15 over, and Marty Jertson of Phoenix was 19 over. 'Can we play any more rounds?' said the 47-year-old Labritz, who won New York State Opens in 2008, 2011 and 2016 on this course. Labritz has plans to try to make next year's championship in San Francisco, but those were put on hold almost immediately after his round. He had to go back to his course to give a lesson. BEEMER SHINES Rich Beem is giving up tournament golf again, at least until the 2020 PGA Championship. The 48-year-old Beem, the 2002 PGA champ, capped his annual tournament appearance Sunday, shooting a final-round 69 to finish at 15 over. It was his second 69, but he also had rounds of 75 and 82. 'I play once a year,' Beem said. 'It's tough but it's fun. If I play bad I have an excuse, and if I play well then everybody is surprised.' Beem has had an interesting week. He played his first two rounds in a group with John Daly, who was allowed to use a cart because of a bad knee. 'Anything John does isn't completely surprising,' Beem said. 'It's always fun to play alongside him, and making the cut this week has been a blast. It kind of came out of nowhere, but I am glad it did.' Beem needs to wait two more years to be old enough for the PGA Tour Champions circuit. DIVOTS: How tough were four rounds at Bethpage Black? Paul Casey had the answer after a 69. 'We just walked in, you laughed at me because there's a dog near the scoring area with a little jacket on it, says emotional support dog, which is what I feel like I need after playing that golf course.' ... Jordan Spieth shot a final-round 71 and finished at 2 under and tied for third with Patrick Cantlay and Matt Wallace of England. It was his first top-20 finish this year. ___ More AP golf: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Dustin Johnson has completed the so-close slam. The former world No. 1 erased all but one stroke of a seven-shot deficit in the final round of the PGA Championship — not quite good enough to stop Brooks Koepka from winning the tournament for the second straight year. Instead, Johnson left Bethpage Black with the No. 2 ranking and another second-place finish, giving him one in each of golf's four majors. 'Obviously, I knew starting seven back that it was going to be a big feat to catch Brooks,' Johnson said after his 1-under 69 on Sunday left him two strokes behind Koepka. 'I definitely gave him a run, though, so I was happy with that.' It was Johnson's second straight time as runner-up, having finished one stroke behind Tiger Woods at the Masters. Johnson also tied for second in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, when he had a 12-foot eagle putt to win and three-putted for par to lose by one, and at the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George's. Koepka now has four majors. And, thanks to Johnson, this one ranks No. 1. 'Today was definitely the most satisfying out of all of them, for how stressful that round was, how stressful D.J. made that,' Koepka said. 'That was the most excited I've ever been in my life ever there on 18.' On a day when the winds blew steadily at 23 mph and gusted even higher, Johnson was the only one who entered the final round in the top 25 to post a negative number, and the only one in the field to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds. But Koepka's record-breaking first 36 holes left him a big enough cushion to withstand his workout partner's charge. 'Brooks is a great player. I play a lot of golf with him. He's one of my good buddies,' Johnson said. 'He's one of the guys that I look for that I have to beat. He's one of the best players out here, so he's always somebody that I've got my eye on.' Arriving on Long Island as the reigning PGA champion and the two-time defending U.S. Open winner, Koepka tamed the par-70 ,7,459-yard course with scores of 63 and 65 in the first two rounds and entered the weekend with a seven-stroke lead. He protected it with an even par on Saturday. Johnson was tied for ninth after an opening-round 69 and moved up to fourth with a 67 on Friday. Another 69 left him in a four-way tie for second heading into the final day, when Koepka was so far ahead of the pack that it looked like the only competition would be for the best of the rest. Luke List fell out of the race by going 4 over through seven holes, and Jazz Janewattananond shot 42 on the back nine to finish in a tie for 14th. Harold Varner III, who was playing with Koepka, double-bogeyed Nos. 3 and 4 while shooting 81 to drop to a tie for 36th. But Johnson slowly chipped away at the lead — with some help from Koepka — until there was only one stroke separating them. The 2016 U.S. Open winner birdied No. 15 to move to 8 under, and Koepka had bogeyed four straight to drop to 9 under. The crowd, which hadn't expected to see much of a competition, began chanting 'D.J.!' 'It's New York,' Koepka said with a smile. 'What do you expect, when you're half-choking it away?' Johnson was in the fairway on No. 16 with 194 yards to the hole and a strong wind blowing into his face. He had a 5-iron in his hand and thought about going back for a 4-iron; he stuck with the 5 — and flew the green with it. 'Obviously, not a spot where you can go,' he said. 'The wind was just really eating the ball up when you're hitting it into it. ... I don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that.' He pitched to within 8 feet and rolled the par putt past the hole. The one-stroke deficit was now two. 'I knew I needed to birdie one of the last two when I did that,' he said. Instead, he made bogey on No. 17. Johnson was watching in the scoring tent when Koepka drove it into the left rough on No. 18, but he pitched onto the fairway and got up-and-down from there for the two-stroke victory. 'It's why we play golf, is to be in these kind of situations. I had a great time out there today, even in these tough conditions,' Johnson said. 'I gave it a good shot.' ___ For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • After getting supportive messages from Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan the night before, Harold Varner III could not have had a better start to the final round of the PGA Championship. The 28-year-old birdied the first hole at Bethpage Black playing in the final pairing to draw within five strokes of eventual champion Brooks Koepka, who bogeyed the hole. It was the best thing to happen to Varner on Sunday. The 174th-ranked player in the world shot an 11-over 81 and went from sole possession of second place to finishing tied for 36th with a 6-over score. It marked the first time a player in the last pairing on the final day of a major shot in the 80s. 'Man, it's just rough. It was hard. It was really hard,' said Varner, whose only win was in the 2017 Australian PGA championship. 'I just didn't play well enough. It was a great experience. I'm going to get a lot better. It's just a hard golf course. I don't know, I don't know. It's good.' Varner finished with one birdie, three double bogeys, six bogeys and eight pars. His first double came at the par-3 third hole. He missed the green, chipped to 11 feet and three-putted. The worst hole was the par-5, 524-yard No. 4. His 324-yard tee shot landed in stalk-like grass. His second went sideways into the woods, and the ball was lost. Even Koepka came to help, but to no avail. 'I had about 30 seconds left,' Varner said of the search. 'I didn't think we were going to find it anyways. I didn't really look for my golf ball. I thought I was screwed.' Varner had to return to the native area and eventually took a 7. Nothing good happened after that and it seemed Varner just tried to play fast the rest of the way on a very windy, difficult day. 'That was crazy,' he said. 'But it happens. I just — mine happened on the last day. I'm going to get a lot better. It was just really hard. I don't know what else to say.' Varner said his opening rounds of 71, 67 and 67 convinced him he is good enough to compete with the best on the PGA Tour. It just didn't happen on Sunday, and he was ticked off, although he never ducked a question. 'I was right there,' he said. 'Gosh, it was a lot of fun, man. It was something I've never felt before. So it was pretty cool.' Varner didn't disclose exactly what Woods, who didn't make the cut, said to him, other than to keep it simple. The rest was smack talk between golfers. (Varner, who is also African American, said earlier in the weekend that he was enjoying the give-and-take with the fans, even the ones who called him 'Tiger.') What really bothered Varner and was completely out of his — and Koepka's control — were some fans yelling for Koepka to choke after Dustin Johnson drew close. 'I have a few choice words for that,' said Varner, whose week began with plans to play a practice round with Woods on the eve of the tournament until Woods called in sick. 'I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke. That's not my cup of tea. I was pulling for him after that.' ___ This story has been corrected to show that Varner's first double bogey came on the third, not second, hole. ___ For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Brooks Koepka's coronation in this PGA Championship nearly got blown off the golf course. It didn't because his main competition, Dustin Johnson, had just as much trouble keeping his ball in play down the stretch. Johnson was within one stroke of his close friend after a birdie on No. 15, a hole he birdied all four rounds. The 3 he shot added significant tension to what had looked like a runaway win by Koepka — until Koepka's seven-shot lead and the way he was mastering the course disappeared in a flurry of bogeys on the back nine after a birdie at No. 10. Two of the longest and strongest players on the PGA Tour struggled mightily with the swirling winds that at times reached 20 mph in some spots. 'I knew today, starting off, that it was going to play tough,' said Johnson, who wound up two shots behind Koepka and will relinquish the No. 1 ranking to the winner. 'You know, the wind was up. It was the most wind we've had all week.' The gusts might have been at their worst on the 16th hole, where Koepka pretty much clinched his second straight PGA, his fourth major, and became the first player to hold two back-to-back major crowns at the same time. Johnson was having what had been by far the best round of the day. He was at 8 under overall when his tee shot on 16 landed smack in the middle of the fairway. But from 194 yards, his 5-iron approach caught a gust and soared over the green into nasty rough. A nice chip out of that toward a flag whipping in the wind got Johnson to 7 feet, but he missed the putt. 'You know, wind was howling in my face a little bit off the right,' he said. 'I hit a 5-iron but almost went back and got a 4-iron because I didn't think the 5 was going to even come close, based on the shots that I've hit earlier in the round into the wind. The wind was just really eating the ball up when you're hitting into it. 'So I tried to hit kind of like just a little low draw. Hit the shot I wanted to right at the flag. Just I don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that.' His momentum was gone with the wind, and he also bogeyed the 17th after a tee shot well right into the rough beside the par-3 green. The wind again played a role. Koepka, who was on the 15th fairway and knew from the crowd's reaction that Johnson had dropped a shot, came to 16 having bogeyed four in a row, looking a bit worn and, perhaps for the first time in four days, sensing this was no cinch. He desperately needed to hit the fairway — something he did only six times all day — and did so. From 163 yards he put his ball 49 feet from the hole, providing more of a test. Koepka passed it by two-putting. 'Probably doesn't sound like much, but the putt on 16 I thought just gave me a little bit more confidence coming down the stretch,' Koepka said. 'I know I missed one on 17, but you know, I think 16 helped me make 18.' That was enough for the 29-year-old Koepka to hold on, denying Johnson a massive comeback for his second major title. 'With this golf course and this amount of wind, it's very, very difficult,' Johnson said. 'So I mean, it's definitely one of the tougher days we've played in. 'Obviously I knew starting seven back that it was going to be a big feat to catch Brooks. You know, I definitely gave him a run, though, so I was happy with that.' In the end, Koepka was the happiest, even if he hadn't exactly conquered Bethpage Black — or the swirling wind — on Sunday. 'I mean, I challenge anybody to go play this golf course in 15- to 20 mile-an-hour winds and see what they shoot,' he said. ___ For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Draymond Green would rather do more playing than complaining these days. Known at times for his temper and tangles with officials, a more mature Green has the Golden State Warriors on the brink of a fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals. 'I realized I got to a point where I was doing more crying than playing,' he said. 'I'm sure it was disgusting to watch because I felt disgusting playing that way, and I just wanted to lock back in on the game.' Green led the way as the Warriors rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99 on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Golden State can finish out the series Monday at the Moda Center. Green had 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his seventh playoff triple-double overall, and third of this postseason. All three have come on the road. He also was instrumental in Golden State's 114-111 comeback victory in Game 2. He made a bounce pass through the paint to a cutting Andre Iguodala for a dunk with 3:06 left to make it 108-105, and then assisted on a layup by Kevon Looney the next possession. He finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocked shots. He has collected 10 or more rebounds in eight straight playoff games. Green said he has mellowed, and credited his family — including 2-year-old Draymond Green Jr. — for his newfound awareness. 'I understand that officials aren't perfect and I still have conversations with them now, when they miss a call, but it's a completely different conversation,' he said. 'My mom has been really big. My fiancée has been really big with just talking to me about that and just telling me to stay locked in on the game. I also have some little ones at the house who enjoying watching me play. I don't necessarily want them to see that. So just try to be more mindful of it.' Green was famously suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers after collecting four flagrant foul points in the postseason. Coach Steve Kerr said Green's improved focus has been a big key for the Warriors. 'I mean, I think that's been really obvious over the last couple of weeks, and I think it's important because, when he gets upset and emotional, it costs us,' Kerr said. 'We lose our focus as a team. I mean, he's our leader.' Green was much more than a triple-double Saturday night. He pushed the pace and steadied Golden State as it overcame a double-digit deficit against the Blazers for a second straight game. 'Once he gets the ball in his hands, he's doing everything you'd want that guy in the middle to do,' Portland's Damian Lillard said. The Trail Blazers are going to need more from Lillard to get back in the series, and the star guard is playing though a rib injury. He had 19 points in Saturday's loss, well off the 33 he averaged in Portland's first-round series against the Thunder. He has been double-teamed often with the Warriors keying in on him. No team has ever come back to win after going down 3-0 in the playoffs. The Warriors were dealing with injuries of their own. Iguodala is listed as questionable for Monday's game with an injured lower leg but the team reported that his MRI Sunday was clear. Golden State was already without Kevin Durant because of a sore right calf. It's unlikely that the two-time NBA Finals MVP will return during the series against the Blazers. Green said it's important that he take on a more effective leadership role in the absence of Durant, who is averaging more than 34 points during the playoffs. The Warriors were also without DeMarcus Cousins, who tore a quadriceps muscle at the start of the playoffs. 'Obviously, I'm not capable of doing what Kevin does on the basketball floor, and no one else on this team is. Or DeMarcus. So collectively, we've got to do that,' Green said. 'I just try to take it upon myself to do my part and also try to create a pace that I know we can be successful at.' Kerr said in many ways Green reminds him a bit of Dennis Rodman, the coach's former teammate on the Chicago Bulls. 'Draymond has just become a tremendous playmaker. He's our leading assist guy, handles the ball and pushes the pace quite a bit for us. So, I think he's actually a better two-way player but very similar to Dennis,' Kerr said, adding with a smile: 'Not as good of a rebounder, though. I have to give that to Dennis. I've never met a better rebounder than Dennis.' ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Simon Pagenaud keeps finding new ways to impress his team owner. Last weekend, he rallied in the rain to end a 21-race drought. On Sunday, he put Roger Penske back on the pole for the Indianapolis 500. And he may not be finished. Pagenaud traded high-fives and pumped his fist along pit row after earning the first Indy pole by a French driver in a century. He had a four-lap qualifying average of 229.992 mph to edge Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot and give Chevrolet a clean sweep of the front row for next Sunday's race. 'Watching him run in that road race, in the water, I've never seen a run like that in my life,' Penske said after the team captured its 266th IndyCar pole. 'And then to come out here and win the pole? We've got great momentum.' The timing couldn't be better for Pagenaud, either. With his contract expiring at the end of this season and questions lingering about his future, the 2016 series champ has thrived this month on IndyCar's biggest stage. He won the IndyCar Grand Prix for his first trip to victory lane since the 2017 season finale at Sonoma. He earned his first pole since July 2017 at Toronto. On Sunday, Pagenaud was the only driver in the nine-car pole shootout to top 230 on three of the four laps. He knocked a three-time Indy pole winner out of the top spot. Carpenter wound up second with an average of 229.889. Pigot, who also drives for Ed Carpenter Racing, will start third at 229.826. 'This is truly what Team Penske does,' Pagenaud said. 'They give us the best equipment. Quite frankly, (my driving is) at the very, very end of what made this possible. I'm just very honored to drive this No.22 Chevy Menards, which obviously was very incredible today.' Teammates Will Power, the defending race winner, and Josef Newgarden, the 2017 IndyCar champ, didn't record a single lap on the 2.5-mile oval over 229. Three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves didn't even make the shootout. And now Pagenaud has positioned himself perfectly to extend Penske's record to 18 Indy 500 wins — as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first trip to Indy as a team owner. Plus, Pagenaud also can become the second straight driver to sweep the two Indy races — joining Power. The Australian achieved the feat last year. The only real competition in qualifying came from Carpenter's three-car contingent, which included Ed Jones of Dubai landing in the No. 4 starting spot. 'To have Ed Carpenter cars starting second, third and fourth, I think that speaks volumes to the organization,' Carpenter said. 'I really wish one of us would have ended up on pole, but I'm still really happy to be two, three and four. Simon just put in a really nice, long run. His car was so consistent. I couldn't be that consistent, so, congrats to him.' Pigot had the fastest car on Saturday and would have had the pole if rain had washed out qualifying. But the track stayed dry just long enough for Pagenaud to take an even more trimmed out car around the track quickly and smoothly. It was all he needed. 'I wouldn't say I was doing a rain dance all day,' Pigot said. 'As a race car driver, we love driving IndyCars to the limit and you definitely get a chance to do that here with qualifying. So, any chance we get to put four laps together here, it's exciting. Unfortunately, it was a little short, but it was a great day for the team.' Rookie Colton Herta was the top Honda-powered driver at fifth with a speed of 229.086. The American drives for Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Sebastien Bourdais, also from France, was seventh at 228.621 and Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy winner, was ninth at 228.247. Bourdais drives for Dale Coyne with Vasser-Sullivan. Rossi is the only Andretti Autosport driver to make the first three rows in the 33-car field. __ More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sport